November 2019 program

Dr. Tim Collins is a Professor and the Graduate Program Director in the Department of Biological Sciences at Florida International University. Dr. Collins received his B.S. degree from the University of Maryland, and his Ph.D. from Yale University. Dr. Collins is an evolutionary biologist working primarily on molluscs, and is particularly interested in applying his skills to solve practical problems.

I met Dr. Collins at the screening of the Changing Seas episode “Cryptic Critters” from Season 10,  with Dr. Rüdiger Bieler and his wife Dr. Petra Sierwald. Tim ran the DNA work on the new wormsnail from the Florida Keys, which turned out to be the new species, Thylacodes vandyensis Bieler, Rawlings & Collins, 2017.

Dr. Collins is presently working on the invasive species of flatworm, Platydemus manokwari De Beauchamp, 1963, and tonight he will tell us about his studies with this flatworm and why it is dangerous to our local species.

The non-native terrestrial New Guinea Flatworm (NGF, Platydemus manokwari) was discovered in Florida in 2015. In other parts of the world where it has been introduced, it has been considered the cause of extinction and/or dramatic decline of native species, particularly land snails, and for this reason is considered one of the World’s 100 worst invasive species. We have observed large-scale predation events on native Florida tree snails by Platydemus sp. for example, on our iconic native tree snails, Liguus and Orthalicus in the Castellow Hammock Preserve (see photos). In my talk I will discuss the possible effects of NGF on both native and non-native snails in Florida, as well as possible ways to limit the spread and effects of this new invasive species.

Please come and welcome Dr. Tim Collins to his first program for our club. Don’t forget to bring a snack if you have not done so this year.